Nigeria Ending Unrest in the Niger Delta

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    NIGERIA: ENDING UNREST IN THE NIGER DELTA

    Africa Report N135 5 December 2007

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................. i

    I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 1

    II. FALTERING ATTEMPTS TO ADDRESS THE DELTA UNREST........................ 1A. REACHING OUT TO THE MILITANTS?.....................................................................................1

    B. PROBLEMATIC PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION COMMITTEES.........................................3

    C. UNFULFILLED PROMISES.......................................................................................................4

    III. THE RISING TOLL....................................................................................................... 7

    A. CONTINUING VIOLENCE........................................................................................................7

    1. Attacks on expatriates and oil facilities .....................................................................7

    2. Politicians, gangs and the Port Harcourt violence .....................................................7

    3. The criminal hostage-taking industry ........................................................................8

    B. REVENUE LOSS AND ECONOMIC DESTABILISATION ..............................................................9C. EXPATRIATE AND INVESTMENT FLIGHT ..............................................................................10

    IV. GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO THE SECURITY CRISIS .............................. 11

    A. DEPLOYING THE JTF:NECESSARY BUT INSUFFICIENT.........................................................11

    B. DEMOLITION OF THE WATERFRONTS ...................................................................................11

    C. STRENGTHENING SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS .....................................................................12

    V. DEALING WITH THE POLITICAL CAUSES........................................................ 14

    A. PREPARING THE SUMMIT.....................................................................................................14

    B. IMPLEMENTING THE DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN ............................................................14

    C. URGENT

    REFORMS

    ..............................................................................................................15D. INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT...........................................................................................15

    VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................. 16

    APPENDICES

    A. MAP OF NIGERIA.................................................................................................................17B. MAP OF THE NIGER DELTA .................................................................................................18C. GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND PERSONALITIES.........................................................................19D. ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP .......................................................................21E. INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP REPORTS AND BRIEFINGS ON AFRICA ................................22F. INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP BOARD OF TRUSTEES ........................................................24

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    Africa Report N135 5 December 2007

    NIGERIA: ENDING UNREST IN THE NIGER DELTA

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Niger Delta is again at risk of sliding into chaos. The29 May 2007 inauguration of new federal and stategovernments offered an opportunity to resolve longstandingconflicts afflicting the oil-rich, deeply impoverished region.Six months later, the opportunity is unravelling amid newviolence and criminality. Decisive action is necessary to

    stop militant violence and criminal hostage-taking, initiatequick-impact development projects that can build publicconfidence in President Umaru YarAduas administrationand tackle constitutional and legal issues that havefuelled unrest in the region.

    YarAduas early statements and actions raised hopes inthe Delta. The selection of Goodluck Jonathan, an ethnicIjaw and then governor of Bayelsa State, as his runningmate responded to the regions demand for representationin the presidency. YarAdua identified the Delta asone of seven priority areas in his inaugural address and

    followed up by initiating consultations with ethnicand militant organisations and endorsing the regionaldevelopment master plan launched by his predecessor,Olusegun Obasanjo, in March 2007. But none of thishas yet led to a comprehensive and credible strategyfor ending the violence. Repeated postponements of theNiger Delta summit, initially called for June, and lackof clarity over its participants, methods and goals areeroding confidence and threatening a relapse into evenmore intensive conflict.

    Following the 3 September arrest in Angola of one of itsleaders, Henry Okah, the Movement for the Emancipationof the Niger Delta (MEND) resumed attacks on oilinstallations and hostage-taking. On 18 October, itthreatened to extend its bombing campaign beyond theDelta if the federal government agreed to the militarysrequest to raid militants camps.

    Hostage-taking, employed by militants since early 2006to draw international attention to the Delta crisis, hasturned into a lucrative, criminally driven enterprise, withlocal politicians and their relatives frequent victims,instead of just the oil industry expatriates who were theoriginal targets. The practice has also begun to spreadbeyond the core Niger Delta, to Ondo State on the westernfringe of the region and other parts of the country.

    Clashes in Rivers State between politically sponsoredcriminal gangs in August and deepening splits withinthe Deltas major militant groups have worsened thesecurity situation. Divisions within militant ranks havereduced prospects for forging a united front to negotiatewith the government.

    If YarAdua is not to lose his opportunity to resolvethe Delta crisis, he must urgently go beyond drawn-outconsultations with militants and ethnic leaders andtranslate his promises into credible policies which addressthe violence and legitimate demands. The federal legislatureneeds to provide constitutional solutions for the political,economic and environmental grievances that have beenat the roots of ethnic and communal agitation for decades.The Rivers State government, whose territory has seen theworst and most recent violence, must act with restraint toavoid aggravating the already volatile relations between

    ethnic groups in the state.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    To the Federal Government and PresidentYarAdua:

    1. Appoint an independent presidential envoy of highmoral authority from civil society and outside theregion to lead an inclusive consultation on process,agenda and participation for the Niger Delta

    summit and report back within three months; theenvoy should:

    (a) include armed militants and non-armed civilsociety representatives, including womensgroups, from all Niger Delta states andethnic groups in the consultation;

    (b) revisit the recommendations of the 2005Ogomudia report; and

    (c) review and propose changes to make thepeace and reconciliation committees more

    inclusive and efficient tools for conflictprevention, management and resolution.

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    Nigeria: Ending Unrest in the Niger Delta

    Crisis Group Africa Report N135, 5 December 2007 Page ii

    2. Stop all attempts to divide and co-opt armedmilitants by offering contracts and appointmentsto leaders and instead encourage them to create andarticulate a common and realistic political agenda.

    3. Proceed immediately with security and infrastructuredevelopment assessments as preliminary stepsto holding the Niger Delta summit.

    4. Institute a judicial inquiry into the Port Harcourtviolence and prosecute all political actors identifiedas having contributed to armed conflicts andpolitical assassinations in the Niger Delta since1999.

    5. Appoint a special federal prosecutor to investigatelocal and state government officials involved inhostage-taking.

    6. Clarify the terms and applicability of its amnestyso as to distinguish between politically inspiredmilitants and criminally motivated gangsters, andaccompany it with adequate punishment for themost serious crimes and appropriate compensationand rehabilitation measures for the most affectedvictims.

    7. Strengthen security arrangements in the region by:(a) increasing the manpower and equipment of

    the Nigeria Police Force for constabularyduties on land, and of the navy for patrollingcreeks and waterways;

    (b) requiring improved collaboration betweenthe police and local security, includingprivate and community-based securityorganisations; and

    (c) increasing the means available to the militarypolice, military justice and internal policeservices to arrest and prosecute any officerof any rank involved in oil bunkeringor other organised criminal activities incomplicity with Niger Delta armed groups.

    8. Identify clearly money allocated in the 2008budget for Niger Delta development and releaseall outstanding funds due to the Niger DeltaDevelopment Commission (NDDC) since 2001.

    9. Implement on a fast-track basis those elements ofthe Niger Delta Development Master Plan withpotential for generating jobs quickly.

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